Visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that Washington would like to see the North Korean nuclear issue deescalate.
"The United States has no desire to escalate this crisis," Rice told a joint news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso after their meeting, which was focused on the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue.
For his part, Aso said Japan and the United States will continue to urge North Korea to return unconditionally to the six-party talks on its nuclear development, stalled since last November.
The Japanese minister also said both Rice and he called on other countries concerned to help implement the resolution.
Rice, whose ongoing trip is part of the US diplomatic efforts to solve North Korean nuclear issue, is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today before she heads for China and South Korea.
It was reported that Washington would urge the three northeast Asian countries to use radiation monitors to identify suspicious ships, trucks and aircraft and to consider jointly shared US and Asian intelligence in deciding which cargo to check.
A US official, who asked not to be identified, said the US government would be willing to provide assistance that would make every suspected North Korean shipment subject to scrutiny at seaports, airports and border crossings.
But Rice said "What we are looking for is not inspecting every ship. This is not some random inspection." She confirmed said inspections would be "information-driven," based on intelligence about North Korean intentions.
Rice stressed that the Bush administration was focused on the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," not destabilizing the Pyongyang government and that a commitment would remain to reverse and dismantle North Korea's nuclear programs.
The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted the resolution imposing sanctions against North Korea for its Oct. 9 nuclear test.
(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2006)